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The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is an agency of the European Union, established in 2002, whose regulatory role encompasses the airworthiness and environmental compatibility of aeronautical products, parts and appliances, flight-crew licensing and air operations and regulation of third country aircraft from a safety and environmental viewpoint as well as safety of ATM/ANS and aerodrome operation.
EASA’s legal powers derive from its ‘Basic Regulation’ - Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008 as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1108/2009 of 21 October 2009. The amended ‘Basic Regulation’ defines the Agency’s roles and responsibilities, and establishes common rules in the field of civil aviation.
EASA undertakes its role through the application of a wide range of regulatory provisions which expand upon and interpret the requirements of the ‘Basic Regulation’ in a manner that provides sufficient technical detail and guidance to be applicable, as appropriate, by the Agency, its Member States and their National Aviation Authorities (NAAs).
Article 17 of the ‘Basic Regulation’ instructs the Agency to assist the European Commission (EC) by “…preparing measures to be taken for the implementation of the [Basic] Regulation”. These measures include the preparation of draft Implementing Rules (IR’s) which are submitted to the EC (under Article 18) in the form of EASA opinions. Except for draft legislation, EASA are also empowered to issue opinions on a range of other technical and operational issues.
Currently, well-established Implementing Rules are in place to support the regulation of:
Further IRs are being developed to support the more recent expansion of EASA’s role into air operations and flight-crew licensing. In these fields, interim provisions are established through adoption of Joint Aviation Requirements developed by the JAA.
In addition, following the expansion of the scope of EASA’s role to the safety regulation of airport operations and air traffic control services new IR’s are being established in this field, in conjunction with the Community legislation established for the implementation of the Single European Sky (SES).
ATM/ANS IMPLEMENTING RULES
The EASA Basic Regulation and Implementing Rules are legal instruments of the European Community to be applied by the Agency. Those regulations also give to the Agency the legal power to develop and promulgate Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC), Guidance Material (GM) and Certification Specifications (CS) material in consultation with industry.
Accordingly, AMC, GM and CS material is published in the form of Decisions of the Executive Director of the Agency.
To enable the Implementing Rules to be applied in day-to-day practice by regulatory personnel, and to assist the industry in complying with the regulatory provisions, further material is required to provide additional explanation and necessary technical detail.
The term Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material (AMC) (as referred to in Articles 18 and 19 of the ‘Basic Regulation’ and its Implementing Rules) is primarily used to qualify technical interpretative material to be used in the certification process. In this respect, the AMC serve as means by which the certification requirements contained in the ‘Basic Regulation, its Implementing Rules and, more specifically, in their annexes (also referred to as "Parts"), can be met by those subject to the Regulation.
AMC material is not binding on those applying for regulatory approval, who may decide to show compliance with the applicable certification requirements using other means. Competent NAAs may also produce their own acceptable means of compliance, based or not on those issued by EASA. Just as with AMC issued by EASA, such national means of compliance cannot bind the applicants either; the applicant can always choose to comply by other means.
Guidance Material is typically developed to accompany AMC material in order to provide additional explanation to assist the application of the ‘Basic Regulation’ and its IR’s, and to help illustrate the meaning of specifications and requirements. Guidance Material is not binding on those applying for regulatory approval.
For those regulatory activities where IR Certification is required, the Agency issues Certification Specifications (CS). The provisions of CS are developed in consultation with industry interested parties and, where applicable, in conjunction with industry bodies such as the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE)).
Compliance with CS is a necessary condition for obtaining the relevant regulatory approval or certification. CS material may therefore be regarded as binding when taken in conjunction with the binding rules which require compliance with the CS.
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